While Spider’s Web rehashes the same story from the second and third installments, it lacks the punch of previous entries. Claire Foy does justice to the character, though she’s never pushed as far as Noomi Rapace was.
Stieg Larsson introduced the world to Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, in his Millennium Trilogy book series. The stories are characterized by graphic depictions of sexual violence, as well as cathartic revenge against the perpetrators of that violence. The big reveal in the original trilogy is that the ring of sexual predators has a very personal connection with Lisbeth. (You’ll get no more spoilers from me!)
In a tragic twist of fate, Stieg Larsson passed away in 2004, and a new author took up writing duties for the series. The Girl In The Spider’s Web is David Lagercrantz’s first entry in the series. While the movie takes some liberties with the book, it covers a lot of the same ground.
By the time we get to Spider’s Web, Lisbeth Salander has become something of a legend as the avenger of women, the righter of wrongs. She breaks into houses of wealthy men who violently abuse women, then use their money and power to escape justice for their crimes. She delivers violent revenge and steals all the wealth and power of her targets. And while she is very satisfied with her hobby as a vigilante, she still needs to pay the bills.
And here’s the real start of our story. Franz Balder has invented an app. It’s essentially Pokémon Go, but with nuclear missiles. The app is great, but it’s in the wrong hands, American hands. Now, it’s up to Lisbeth to get it back. The problem is, the app is too easy to steal, so Lisbeth has to come up with reasons to justify the 2 hour run time.
Enter the family drama. Lisbeth apparently had a twin sister (who wasn’t mentioned in previous installments), whom she abandoned to escape her abusive father. Recently, Lisbeth can’t stop thinking about her. This is convenient because Lisbeth had already killed the rest of her felonious family, and she is looking to have a reunion.
Claire Foy takes over the mantle of Lisbeth Salander, and she does a fine job capturing the grit and courage of the character. But, Salander doesn’t face any of the horrible scenarios she faced in previous installments, by which I mean there’s no graphic sexual violence. While the lack of violence is refreshing, the result is a disparity in the level of edginess and intensity in this movie compared to previous entries. Claire Foy also lacks a decent supporting cast, with the other members of her team showing up only to lend a well timed hand. They do not offer much in the way of complexity or charm, leaving the heavy lifting to Foy.
The one bright spot in the supporting cast is Lakeith Stanfield, who plays an American NSA agent. He is Salander’s own personal Koopa Troopa (an enemy that turns into an asset after he’s jumped on a bit). That adaptability makes him 2-dimensional!
This movie has less edge, less charisma, and less social awareness than Dragon Tattoo, but it’s still a decent movie. It’s just not as engaging as the original. Genuinely, I was hoping for much, much more out of this one.
2 cushions out 5 and a throw pillow.